Reported Outcomes for Empty Oceans, Empty Nets
Empty Oceans, Empty Nets aired as a PBS Special to a nationwide audience in April of 2002, and continues to broadcast on four continents for the next three years.
Empty Oceans, Empty Nets examines the decline of ocean fish populations, the economic forces driving the declines, and the implications for world food security. It presents the pioneering work of scientists, fishermen, merchants, and policy makers to restore selected fisheries, including an in-depth look at market initiatives identifying seafood products produced by sustainable fisheries. The program concludes with an inspirational call-to-action voiced by fishery stakeholders who comment on the vital role to be played by citizens and consumers. A voice-over announcement during closing credits prompts viewers to visit the films PBS website for links to on-line resources providing updated information on seafood products.
SUCCESS WITH PBS
The impact of Empty Oceans, Empty Nets achieved our primary goal of encouraging consumer demand for environment-friendly seafood and furthering a growing public dialogue to find solutions. PBS carriage of the documentary surpassed all expectations. The show was accessible to over 95% of all U.S. households, airing in 20 of the top 20 markets (largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.). Well over 250 stations have aired the show during Earth Day week and will continue to air it as repeat-broadcasts over the next 3 years. Nielsen ratings reveal that about 1.5 million households tuned in to the program in markets where it aired during Earth Week, and another half million watched the show in the months that followed. The nation's largest PBS station, WGBH, broadcast the show on July 4th. It's also worth noting that PBS programs often spawn mainstream media coverage of the issues examined. In the San Francisco Bay Area, within 3 weeks of the Empty Oceans initial PBS airdate, ABC News on Channel 7 aired an in-depth news story on the emerging market for environment-friendly seafood.
MEDIA PRESS AND ATTENTION
Ads were placed in major newspapers across the U.S. and during peak slots on National Public Radio. An extensive grassroots email outreach effort was executed with the support of Oceana, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and many other non-profit organizations. Among the newspapers that made mention of the film in articles spurred by the issues raised were the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, National Fisherman, Pacific Fisherman, and the Cape Cod Times. Please see partial news clippings packet.
PBS viewers comprise a very targeted television audience. Market research identifies PBS viewers as "green consumers" who are the most prone to persist in asking retailers to stock "green products". In this sense, PBS viewers are a trend-setting audience. They are the consumers who persuade neighborhood grocers to add recycled paper products, non-toxic cleansers and organic foods to their inventories. They are "lead" consumers in the sense that their prompting makes these products available to a larger group of consumers who tend to read labels and are inclined to buy green products stocked on the shelves.
"What a great topic and a great film. As a consumer it is hard to know what fish to buy and not to buy, and personnel at the fish stores usually do not know (or don't care). I will let everyone I know hear about this great film and the importance of only buying fish that comes from well managed fisheries." -PBS Viewer
We continue to receive a steady influx of email from PBS viewers who have visited the film's websites. The PBS website (www.pbs.org/emptyoceans) and our own website (www.habitatmedia.org) have received nearly 162,000 visits combined. Many of these visitors are responding to a questionnaire posted on the website to help us gauge the impact of the show. Nearly all respondents indicate that they were inspired to seek out and ask for seafood products produced by sustainable fisheries. Noticeable spikes in web visits were also noted by Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, Seafood Choices Alliance, and Audubon's Living Oceans Seafood Guide.
REACTION FROM POLICYMAKERS & EDUCATORS
Empty Oceans, Empty Nets has repeatedly been screened on at the National Marine Fisheries Service headquarters as a training tool and in museums, aquaria, and college campuses as an educational resource. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is considering self-distributing EOEN as part of their worldwide educational outreach in their regional fishery commissions. Empty Oceans has been screened at the United Nations and Federal judges presiding over cases involving fisheries have requested copies of the show (as reported by Earth Justice attorneys). Empty Oceans has also been shown at NOAA national headquarters, by White House staff, at the American Museum of Natural History, the California Academy of Sciences, the Monterey Bay, Seattle and Shedd Aquariums, and over 150 college campuses. Policymakers, scientists and educators from around the world have requested copies of the film for outreach and educational purposes. Marine aquaria, zoos and museums are showing a 14-minute educational version of the program titled The Seafood Story.
REACTION ROM INDUSTRY
Although we have had the occasional hostile reaction from a commercial fisherman or seafood merchant, the vast majority of the email we've received from industry members has been very appreciative of the film's editorial balance, largely because we presented fishermen's points of view and their efforts to restore fisheries. Industry publications like National Fisherman and Pacific Fishing have written extensive editorials about the film that were surprisingly positive (included in attachments). The U.S. industry's primary web portal, WorldCatch.com, headlined four separate editorials on Empty Oceans and conducted an opinion poll to gauge industry reaction. 67% of their respondents indicated that Empty Oceans was "balanced" or "right-on", while 13% indicated it caused them "to think about their industry differently".
OTHER EVENTS, SCREENINGS & BROADCAST INFORMATION
In April 2002, the California Academy of Sciences hosted the premiere of Empty Oceans, Empty Nets in San Francisco, complete with a sustainable seafood reception provided by Whole Foods and prepared by celebrity chefs. The 14-minute version screened at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Cooking for Solutions" event in May 2002, and at Shedd Aquarium's "Right Bite" event in June. Empty Oceans continues to broadcast on PBS stations nationally and on international stations in Europe, Asia and South America. Bullfrog Films is distributing both versions of the program to educational and home video markets. Empty Oceans also screens at film festivals such as the Cape Town Earth Festival, the Woodshole, Hazel Wolf and CINE Film Festivals.